Don Miguel Ruiz and… Diets?
In 1997, Don Miguel Ruiz published a tiny, best-selling book called The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Wisdom. In the space of 138 pages, Ruiz distills what he calls “ancient Toltec wisdom” into four concise principles for life. His simple, insightful writing stayed on the New York Times bestseller list for seven years and secured Ruiz a spot as a “National Heirloom” of Mexico.
But what the hell does Don Miguel Ruiz have to do with fitness coaching or nutrition?
WELL... His Four Agreements are simply ways of living that help people achieve freedom and happiness in life, whether the struggle is with love, purpose, or success.
But, I can’t help but wonder — when it comes to our relationship with food, couldn’t we all use a little more freedom and happiness?
If you are approaching the lunch counter or your closet with imminent fear on the regular, I know for a fact there is better. If you are commiserating with friends over brunch on this or that area of stubborn fat and marveling at those insta fit chicks who seem to have it all together, I can tell you there is another side.
So, how do we get to that other side? Where does badass confidence, with regard to nutrition and self image, come from?
Behold. Over the next four posts, I’m going to drop some practical but revolutionary wisdom.
Let’s take a look at how the Four Agreements can be interpreted as four pretty much renegade principles for achieving a happier and healthier relationship with food:
The First Agreement: Be Impeccable With Your Word
In yoga, we begin class with an intention. It helps us ground to our practice and stand strong in our focus as we ask our bodies to change. Just as you approach flowing movements with implacable grace, you must also set a similar intention for your nutritional changes. And that mantra is impeccability.
Impeccable. What does the word actually mean? While it brings to mind images of faultless perfection, Don Miguel Ruiz chooses to zero in on the sense of integrity introduced by the definition.
When you are impeccable with your word, you speak with an intention to be perfectly real -- to uphold love and truth.
You step up to the challenge at hand, whatever that may be, with these two motives as your guide.
You Should Go and Love Yourself
If you truly seek to change your relationship with food, you’ve got to change your relationship with your self image. And this begins with how we speak about ourselves. You need to talk about yourself with love.
To cultivate love in your speech and your self-talk(we’re not necessarily limiting this dialogue to what you say out loud, as words and thoughts can often conflict), you will agree not to verbally put yourself down, using body image negativity to harm.
If we are really honest, we know that calling ourselves “fat” or “lazy” does not inspire or motivate us. Self deprecation is definitely not the mantra of choice as you embark on a journey of long-lasting transformation.
If asked to coach your best friend in the acquisition of any skill you could imagine, you would NEVER speak to her with a derogatory demeanor. You would address her with loving kindness.
This is the way you must also greet yourself every day. Like you’re a white hot goddess with glowing wisdom who's already pretty excellent.
If you don't believe you are worthy of your own approval now, fake it to make it girl. I wore a necklace strung with 108 beads(that's 108 mantras a day) around my arm for the better part of a year to remind me how worthy I am. And you know the funny thing is... I started to believe it.
As you learn to repeatedly address yourself with respect, you'll find your regard for yourself increases exponentially.
But how do we balance that here and now spiritual swagger, with a genuine need or desire to change? The two intentions seem conflicting.
It’s arguable that the recent rise of body positive culture is a projection of a deeper fear of change, or even dishonoring your self-love by wanting more.
And lovelies, I have to tell you from my behind the filter, real life experience, that these suppositions aren’t completely invalid.
Having goals to eat better, get leaner, and achieve elite fitness goals can be intimidating. Change can incite fear, the opposite of love. And we also cannot ignore that by nature, our bodies are wired to want to stay the same.
So how do we set out to accomplish these nutritional mileposts while thinking and speaking with the intent to love, rather than hate on ourselves?
let's just be fucking real: FoCUS ON THE TRUTH
The other side of the love coin is speaking truth, and when it comes to nutrition, truth also means self-honesty and consistency. A little bit of reflective objectivity(We'll get into the power of not taking things personally next post). Practicality is the truer definition of perfection here.
Being “impeccable with your word” means writing down everything you eat in your food log, and taking a real look at the state of your diet right now. You must know the truth of where you are now to be excited about where you’re going.
The not knowing part is what really instills fear and blocks us from love.
We need love AND the truth for success.
And so being “impeccable with your word” also means making a real commitment. You must seek the expertise of a coach with real nutrition knowledge. To erase your anxiety of failure.
And being “impeccable with your word” means sticking with it. To eradicate the possibility of missing the mark.
The best-kept secret of the tumultuous and controversial dieting world – in which every diet guru claims that their way is the only way that works – is that most diets do work in the short term… if you stick to them.
Are there best practices? Are some philosophies better than others for your long-term health and happiness? Absolutely. But if you follow any plan with consistency, honesty, and positivity, if you are truly “impeccable with your word,” you will indeed find some kind of success.
It all comes back to love and the truth. The realness. Be comfortable with where you're at. But know where you're going.
Coaching and Impeccability
I want you to find the most success. This is why I released my new program, “Sophisticate Your Nutrition,” this week. As a personal trainer, I also have to be impeccable with my word, and in my case, that means using my expertise to give my clients the best possible tools to succeed in achieving their fitness goals. It also means being honest about what doesn’t work.
As I wrote in my blog post last week, moderation doesn’t work for most people, because most people don’t have the skills or habits to get moderation to work for them.
Cookie-cutter plans don’t work for everyone because we are are all inherently too different, from biology to lifestyle.
Meal plans don’t work in the long term because they are restrictive and lacking in intuitive instruction.
And you absolutely should not need to play Jedi mind tricks with your brain for the rest of your life, trying to convince yourself that you're super content with where you're at. You are not ever obligated to accept relative mediocrity.
Your love for your body should be inherent and easy, not instructed.
My new program, “Sophisticate Your Nutrition,” will literally teach you how to eat, so that you can incorporate the principles of impeccability that you need for success, freedom, and happiness… into your eating lifestyle. To be the truly confident body positive badass you can be.
Want to Sophisticate Your Nutrition? Learn how you can work with Ashleigh for less than the cost of two training sessions, PLUS a bonus** 3-month strength and conditioning program.